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Ramaphosa says even babies and elderly are not spared from GBV

Second presidential summit on GBV, femicide held in Midrand

Nomazima Nkosi Senior reporter
President Cyril Ramaphosa walking-about exhibitions showcasing women lead and women centred initiatives and services during the second Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.
President Cyril Ramaphosa walking-about exhibitions showcasing women lead and women centred initiatives and services during the second Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.
Image: GCIS

The government has not done enough to fight gender-based violence (GBV), conceded President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the second presidential summit on gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in Midrand. Its theme: accountability, acceleration and amplification, now!

He faced a tough crowd of guests who included GBVF activists as well as survivors, who questioned what the government had done since the inaugural summit which took place in 2018.

“You’re right in your anger and frustration expressed here that in your view and in some cases [government was] not making [GBVF] the priority it should be," he said.

“This is about the lives or our children and with humility, we’ve not demonstrated the great urgency. I say this with humility and admission that we could and should do much better than what we are. We should be focused on action and results,” he said.

Ramaphosa said it was at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic that GBV reared its head in the ugliest way. “You’re right to say we should see this as the first pandemic because it continues to destroy the lives of women and children of our country. They continue to be raped, violated and killed.

“Despite our efforts, violence against women and children continues unabated. Data shows rape increased by 37% in 2022. During the first quarter of the 2021 financial year and the first quarter of 2022 there was a 52% increase in murder of women and 46% increase in number of children murdered.

“Just as the country was reeling from news of the gang-rape of eight women in Krugersdorp, we were confronted with the murder of four-year-old Bokgabo Poo who was dismembered. Just as babies are not being spared, even the elderly are being targeted.”

Ramaphosa said since the last presidential summit, 83 courts had been upgraded into sexual offences courts. “We have prioritised support for survivors through adequate sheltering services and one-stop services for victims of trauma," he said.

“Expanding the network of Thuthuzela care centres was one of the commitments we made at the 2018 presidential summit. Since the national strategic plan was adopted, we have opened more new centres around the country.  Another centre will be opened in Limpopo later this month.

“In the last financial year, a conviction rate of 77% was obtained for cases reported at Thuthuzela care centres. As it stands, out of 52 districts across the country, 45 have at least one GBV shelter and 85% of these are government-funded,” he said.

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